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Top 25 Under 25 - #15 Dillon Simpson

I think that Dillon Simpson is one of the more divisive prospects in the system right now. There are some people who have him very high on the list, while others wonder what the fuss is about. Some cynical fans dismiss him because he's the son of an Oiler, while those who glory in days gone by might see him a bit better for that same reason. So is Simpson one of the Oilers best defensive prospects, or does he belong on the margins of the Top 25?

Rank Player DOB Drafted Year Alan
Jon Ryan Scott
15 Dillon Simpson 1993-02-10
92 2011
21 13 19 18 12 21 12 12

Previous Rank: 17

The rankings reflect strongly divided opinion. None of us have Simpson in the middle of the second tier guys. About half of us have him near the front of that group, while the other half of have him near the back. Jonathan is one who wants to send him to the back of the bus, so let's take a look at his take:

I was actually surprised to find that I'd ranked Simpson as low as anyone on the panel, particularly since I didn't bump him down far and he's had a quiet second half. At our last update, Simpson had 13 points and a plus-10 rating over 26 games; in the span since he's played 16 contests, picking up five points and an even rating. His offense also seems highly power play dependent, with 11 of 18 points coming on the man advantage. None of this is meant as a knock on the player - given his age, the fact that he's playing regularly in college hockey is a huge positive; I just see him as a step below the high-end players on this list. He could end up being a high-end puck-mover, but then again there's really not a lot statistically to differentiate him from Taylor Chorney (who also played in North Dakota) at the same age.

It's not a particularly negative assessment. As Jonathan said, there are some nice things with this player. He has established himself as a regular in the NCAA at a very young age. In his second season, he finished second among North Dakota defenders in +/- at +10. He finished third among North Dakota defenders in points with 18. He has yet to suffer a major injury. He took the second fewest penalties among North Dakota regulars with just four in 42 games. When Derek asked Jayson Hajdu about Simpson in April, this is what he had to say:

He had been on the top pairing with Ben Blood for a stretch. When Derek Forbort returned to the lineup last week they shuffled the pairings and Dillon went to the second pairing with Nick Mattson. Dillon and Mattson also currently anchor the first PP unit.

He's a good NCAA player at a young age. But is he on track to be better than that? That's the big question. Jonathan (and others) are looking for more evidence. I (and others) think he's shown as much or more than most of the other prospects in the system. Both of us will want to see substantial improvement offensively next season to keep him in the top fifteen. With Ben Blood moving on, Simpson is likely going to have a bigger role in 2012-13. My bet is that he's going to take advantage.